27 July 2007

Rain's Poetry

I love it when it rains. The sound of rainwater as it hits the ground and makes the leaves rustle is like poetry to my ears. The constant almost calculated tip-tap-tip-tap on the roof and the smell of escaping heat from the pavement brings me to a euphoric drive down memory lane. My mind dredges this single thread of reverie of my younger days.

Back to the days of innocence and naivety, that's for certain. The memory is so potent I can almost hear mama busily scurrying in the kitchen while yapping gaily to Manang Celing and at the same time scolding my younger sister whose eyes were glued to the tv screen. It was a late Sunday afternoon, the rain was pouring mad and I, about 10 or 11 years old then, was stretched out on the living room carpet doodling on a complex arithmetic homework apparently distracted of the pungent spicy aroma of mama's adobo. That was a welcomed distraction, nonetheless. I remember vividly how snug and warm I felt that rainy afternoon amidst the looming threat of mathematics. And since then, I have always associated the word "home" to that one particular day.

Home is much, much different now. It no longer rings of mama's scoldings and laughters. No more curfews and ready-made healthy breakfasts. My days are filled with endless wanderings and instant meals. Late night prowlings and unwanted bills. I can't say I'm sad now nor can I say I was happier then. All I know is I'm living life as independent and carefree as I please. Perhaps, if I was a better mold, I would have stayed home, find a job closer to home, settle down and perpetuate the human gene pool. Aaargh... it's exactly a boring life concoction, if you ask me. I don't have anything against people who choose that path. I have friends who chose that path and I'm happy for them. It just isn't the life for me. Not yet, I reckon. From the moment I learned my abc from Batibot I knew I was meant to live my life with a bang even a fortune teller in the Basilica can attest to that with a mere glimpse of my palm and a measly fifty pesos.

So, what's the bang I'm talking about? I don't have the slightest hint. I am still at the foyer of my independent life trying to find it out. Well-meaning friends would ask, "how would you ever find that out when you can't even sit still for a minute?" and then knowingly cite a litany of my job history. I've thought of that too. Unlike before I no longer regret my decisions even the impulsive ones. How can I when those very choices have pickled me raw enough to make me see who I really am -- down to the most embarrassing weakness. Or weaknesses.

When I arrive at a decision, my mind drowns every protest and advice (besides, an unsolicited advice gets on my nerves). My decisions do not always make my parents proud of me and that saddens me. Especially if people would self-righteously question my upbringing. What I am now or who I will be doesn't define the dignity of my parents. Alas, in a cynical world filled with frustrated morality police only a few could really understand that an individual is his own person.

In this cynical world, I sought to find that bang that will eventually lead me back to a snug and warm safe-made place I can call home like that once upon rainy afternoon. Like a veteran hunter that can sense the coming of a prey, I can take a whiff in the air and know, that the bang I've anticipated is near. For now, I am still a work in progress romping my pompous rump down life's tricky meanderings.

26 July 2007

Potter's End

And so the tapestry of Harry Potter draws to a close. Pass me that tissue and salonpas.

For the past 24 hours, my nose has been buried in the final Potter saga hence, the taut nape. Yet, every page was all worth it (if not more) sans the saccharine epilogue. I have to give JK Rowling a standing ovation for not aiming for the tear ducts but went right smack into patching almost all of the loose ends. Don’t get me wrong though, the tragic fate of several well-loved characters was truly heartrending. Laudably, Rowling never succumbed to distasteful melodrama. Clap. Clap.

After the first six chapters, I had to put the book down. I just had to. A sudden attack of the nerves made me want to rush to the nearest sari-sari store for a quick puff. And I’m not even a smoker. Amazing how too soon it has taken me to an extreme trough and peak and back. See, I had to brace myself lest I pass out.

To surprise the readers with facts of something that’s right under our noses is JK Rowling’s trademark. The Mirror of Erised, the truth about Moaning Myrtle, the rumored haunted Shrieking Shack, the seemingly menacing Whomping Willow, the twin core wands of Harry and Voldemort, the squib Arabella Figg, the real half-blood Prince, the Horcruxes are just a few surprises in the preceding books. In the final sequel, the author has continued to regale us with shocking truths of the magical world although much lesser this time. The revelation of Severus Snape’s true allegiance and my favorite character Albus Dumbledore’s past was like being stupefied. Being a self-confessed klutz, I have developed an aversion to sports and anything related to it. That’s why I was never really smitten with quidditch no matter the ingenuity. It came as a surprise that a single truth about the snitch can transform me into an admirer of the idea of quidditch. However, the impact of knowing about the snitch is not strong enough to make an aficionado of sports out of me. Still, I must say, the bit about the snitch is brilliant.

In this final tale, we are to witness several atrocities and tragic deaths. Inevitably, fear and gloom pervades the entire magical community even the muggle society. The revelation in the pensieve, numerous sacrifices of friends and the deaths of six characters that have such strong influences to Harry lead him to fully understand and accept the prophecy that “neither can live while the other survives.”

Every so often, I had to clutch my chest just to keep up with the intense rapid turn of events. Amidst the rather dark theme, it’s a good thing that JK Rowling was able to maintain a good swash of humour. If in the past books we are almost bereft of suspense and astonishing duels, this book surely leaves any reader even the most lethargic amongst us in a bloody awesome breathlessness.


It’s my birthday. Lola, Mama and some friends were all beaming at me as they gathered in a small, quaintly-decorated room to celebrate. I looked so grown-up and svelte in my pearls and frilly birthday dress with matching stiletto heels to boot. Lithely, like a graceful ballerina I twirled and twirled around happily to a classic jazz crooning. As I was reaching for the embutido, I accidentally dropped my spoon.

The spoon fell with a faint shudder. Old wives’ tale has it that if a spoon falls from the table it is likely that a girl will pay you a visit. She must be able to make it after all. The hopeful thought made me flush.

Suddenly as if repulsed by my thought, something ominous froze the ticking of time and halted the lilting strains of sounds. Everything stood still. In a daze, it hit me. Everything was gray. Like a prosaic century-old photograph.

Colors have managed to surprise me with their absence on my birthday.

As the afternoon breeze wafted the curtain, an escaped sunlight dappled my face and stirred me right into consciousness. Sleep no longer lulls my overwrought mind to a calm escape. Even in that surreal place, pain spoils my only known remedy. In my dreams, it haunts me. In my waking moments, it hovers. Pain has become my Siamese twin overshadowing me wherever I go.

In a random burst of insanity I welcomed an unwanted drifter to come crashing right into my complacent retreat, imprisoning me in this all too familiar glass world yet again. Crestfallen, I surrender myself to this trap after countless attempts of escape knowing too well the aftermath of broken glasses. Shards and slivers may cause me to bleed. And bleeding becomes wounds. Wounds create scars. Scars bear constant reminders of the pain.

After a drifter’s inevitable final bow, it’s amazing how colors remain impervious. Its blinding presence mocking me of this growing chasm in the pith of my being. I wanted to summon the venom of hate and fury to obliterate what’s left of my sentient self and heave my masochism to its final rest. But I seem to have lost that power. I am utterly powerless in a powerful pain. Living is pain. Pain is living.

If feeling pain is a realization of life, then I must be fortunate. I should relish every single prick coursing through my veins permeating right into my very soul. This is the feast they call life. Grand.


Rrrriiing…. goes off the second alarm.

Oh no. The first screening starts at 10:25 a.m. I only have about ten minutes to spare for a shower, breakfast and get dressed to make it on time. By the moment I hit the road, it was already 10 am. I vaguely remember muttering inside the cab, “Oh! Harry, don’t start without me!” A situation like this makes you wish for a time turner or some magical incantation that can somehow slow down time. Since I was running late naturally the traffic was bad. A sheer nightmare. Cars, buses and commuters have gone amok. Alright, I’m bluffing. The road was just well..... packed. It simply did not help at all to my rising agitation nor abated the desire to shove the head-bopping cabbie who seems to relish my seething annoyance.

At 10:38a.m., I was resigned to accept my shameful defeat of waiting for the next screening. Hordes and hordes of regrets of not sleeping early exacerbated my despair. What can I do? The night before, I was caught in a hot spot of emotions from being euphoric with anticipation over Harry Potter to feeling extremely disappointed over something. But that story is destined to fill a different page.

There I was clumsily trudging my flab to Potter at 10:45 a.m. While catching my breath, I met a fellow potterhead, Roque who told me piquantly that the movie has NOT started yet. I had to restrain the urge of planting Roque a slobbery kiss! And in rare times, we just have to be grateful for certain absurdities such as the infamous Filipino time.

Thirty minutes or so has passed since I found my seat, I can hear sparse murmurs of complaints over the long-delayed show time. Guiltily, I can’t bring myself to complain. At this instance, I just can’t help feeling kinder to late-comers.

At 11:35 a.m., Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix came alive on the screen and my goosebumps were rising. I have to admit the movie started out rather bland for I was expecting a righteously angry Harry Potter and an erratic Mrs. Arabella Figg. I cringed upon seeing a supposedly strait-laced Petunia, her appearance was slightly reminiscent of a woman in a cheap, sexy flick. The dreamy Luna Lovegood played by Evanna Lynch was in my humble opinion, too charming in a sweet kind of way that she can pass for an angel. Wasn’t she supposed to be eccentric and odd in a funny sort of way? But then, these are all just trivial details that I can easily overlook.

OOTP managed to pick up energy upon the formation of Dumbledore’s army. I am mildly disappointed of not seeing the Protean-charmed galleon coins, though. Dolores Umbridge impeccably played by Imelda Staunton couldn’t be more loathsome but I wonder if I would’ve hated her just as much if I hadn’t read the book. Bellatrix Lestrange seems to have sprung from the pages right into Helena Bonham Carter. She was vile and merciless that I can’t keep myself from hating and loving her all at the same time. No mushy melodrama was spared to Sirius Black’s demise but the muted anguish of Harry sent out a hundred ripples of provocative, poignant pain.

The spectacular duel between Lord Voldemort and Dumbledore left my mouth hanging the whole time. (I should be thankful for the absence of flies!) I believe it is the first time of all the Harry Potter movies where we can witness full-fledged wizards duel. It is my favorite bit of the film. Clearly, the indomitable interpretation of Michael Gambon of Albus Dumbledore is a good match of Ralph Fiennes repulsive demeanor as Lord Voldemort. I can’t help but miss the late Richard Harris as Dumbledore. Admittedly, he was every inch the Albus Dumbledore I’ve imagined.

Overall, the movie was worth the wait. I would give OOTP 4.5 stars although, I can be pretty biased. Inevitably, I left the cinema ecstatic than I already was for the penultimate sequel --- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

A few days more and I’d be lying supine for hours voraciously leafing through the pages of the 7th and last book of the Harry Potter series. I am in a giddy state of anticipation (bordering on madness) for this book although there lurks a hint of mingling melancholy of finally saying goodbye to Harry Potter --- who to me is not just the boy who lived but the one who brought back my old juvenile fantasies.

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